Fall-Inspired Salad with Warm Acorn Squash and a Lemon Maple Dressing
Just because it's fall, that doesn't mean that salads are gone until spring! I like to incorporate seasonal veggies and fall flavors so my salads reflect the new tastes of the season. I created this salad specifically for a colorful pop on the Thanksgiving Day table, but I will certainly be enjoying it throughout the season, since it's so easy to create! Also, I love that this salad is suitable for so many different dietary needs, including low FODMAP, gluten free, dairy free and vegan. If you are hosting Thanksgiving, odds are, you will have a guest (or a few) with dietary restrictions. Offering a variety of dishes that take into account different dietary needs without compromising on flavor is a surefire way to make your guests feel welcome, included and at home!
Ingredients (yields 8 servings):
6 C baby spinach, washed
2 C cucumber, sliced
1 C radish, sliced
1 C green beans, washed and trimmed
1/2 C pumpkin seeds (unsalted or salted, depending on your preference!)
1/3 C dried cranberries (check package for high FODMAP ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup. I got mine at Trader Joe's and the only ingredients were cranberries, cane sugar, water and high oleic sunflower oil)
1 acorn squash
2 Tbsp oil (I like to use avocado oil)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 C extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Juice from 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
*Yields 1 C dressing, or eight 2-Tbsp servings
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Wash acorn squash and pat dry. Slice stem and base from squash (this will make it easier to cut lengthwise). Then, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise. Remove the seeds and pulp and discard (or store if you plan to use it for another dish).
3. Drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil in the hollow part of the squash. Sprinkle salt and pepper along the squash and take a spoon to drizzle the olive oil over the surface of the squash.
4. Bake squash in oven at 375 degrees F for about 45-50 minutes, until squash is cooked through. You may proceed to the next steps while the squash is cooking. Once the squash is cooked, allow the squash to cool for about 10 minutes (or until it is cooled down and safe to handle) and then carefully use a knife to slice away the skin. Chop the squash into cubes and set aside.
5. Steam green beans (you can do this over the stove or in the microwave - the green beans should be a bright green color and tender, not mushy). Set aside and allow green beans to cool for a few minutes. Then, slice into 1/2-inch pieces.
6. Add spinach to a large bowl. Top with sliced cucumber and radish and set aside.
7. Add green beans, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries.
8. Top with chopped squash and serve with dressing on the side or drizzled over salad (recipe below)
1. Add olive oil to a medium-sized glass or bowl.
2. Add maple syrup, lemon juice (watch out for pits!), salt and pepper.
3. Mix all ingredients well with a spoon (I actually used a mason jar and closed the lid so I could give it a good shake just before I served the salad).
*if you keep the dressing separate and have any leftover, you can store the dressing in the fridge for a few days - it may solidify, but you can allow it to rest at room temperature for a few minutes and give it a stir if you wish to use it again.
Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:
Calories 135 calories, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 16 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 4 g, Sodium 34 mg, Calcium 45 mg
*Analysis was made using salad without the dressing, unsalted pumpkin seeds and a 20-oz acorn squash. Adding 2 Tbsp dressing will add 195 calories, 21 g fat, 4 g carbohydrates, 73 mg sodium.